Acceptance vs. Self-judgment

by Yogi, Healer, Traveller, Activist, and Dreamer Jolene McGill

Here we go again. Giving this writing thing another shot. Maybe you noticed and maybe you didn’t but I have not written a blog in almost a year’s time. I am not sure why I deny myself the pleasure of writing to you as I journey down this road to a plastic free life and ultimately a world that is free of the heavy use of fossil fuels, but yet I do.

So here I am after jet setting around the globe and travelling in one very beautiful but complicated Veg oil bus. I find myself writing to you from Cape Breton Island, my home for the summer.

As I get settled in to my life here I begin yet again to collect all my plastic waste. Something I started doing while I was living and travelling in our veg oil bus that I mentioned above. I got this idea from Beth Terry, The author of Plastic Free: How I kicked the plastic habit and you can too. She offers it up as a way of becoming aware of the amount of plastic waste that you generate. I find it is a simple way to shed light on exactly how much plastic is used and for what. My hope is that through collecting my plastic waste I will begin to become a more conscious consumer and ultimately use less. Ah the dream!

So I have picked up an old cardboard box from my work and decided that all the plastic that both Kyle and I use will go in there. Then once a week I will empty out the contents for recycling and document them here with you.

The results for this week are in:

  • Plastic wrap- from a journal, which was a gift
  • 2 almond milk tetra packs
  • 1 mango juice box with straw and of course the wrapper for the straw was in
  • Packaging for veggie sausages
  • Pro bar wrapper
  • 2 Organic produce tags from kale
  • Packaging from celery
  • Chocolate bar wrapper
  • Styrofoam bowl (cringe!) with plastic lid
  • 2oz plastic cup with lid
  • snack bar wrapper
  • dental floss packaging, thus we must include the floss container and floss itself
  • chip bag
  • Saran wrap from Broccoli
  • random plastic bit from condiment top
  • 6 salt water taffy wrappers

 My thoughts on this:

At first I was upset with myself for not being more conscious while I shop. Considering I just came from Central America where it is very evident that we have a plastic addiction. I mean It is literally everywhere down there. It  covers the streets, beaches and roadsides. You can’t even take a step without seeing at least 10 (and believe me it is much more than 10) pieces of plastic trash. Our throw away culture strikes again. Hurray Humanity!

Plastic waste collected on small isolated island off the coast of Belize. Collected all of this in 5 mins in under 10ft.

Plastic waste collected on small isolated island off the coast of Belize. Collected all of this in 5 mins in under 10ft.

Ok, ok, I know there are a lot of us out there trying. Myself included but the problem does not seem to be going anywhere. Plastic trash is gong to keep piling up throughout the world, and unfortunately in our oceans until we wake up and shift away from this disposable culture we have created.

Then I thought back to a teaching I found through yoga. When we practice yoga we aim for complete awareness. When we are aware of our impact on the world and the power that our individual choices have then I believe we can begin to wield that power and create change. 

I think a big part of creating that change comes from cultivating acceptance about how things are here and now. Accepting that we are human and that life has purpose above and beyond our control. And once we can fully and completely honour this life and accept it and ourselves for all that we are then maybe we have a chance. And maybe, just maybe if we approach our plastic culture with acceptance, curiosity and interest, rather than self-judgment we can begin to awaken great change in the heart of humanity on a level that we cannot even fathom. I mean after all if we are all one and all connected then when we DO make these changes in ourselves we are in fact making them in each other. 

Yin Yoga Teacher Training Immersion: Guest Teacher Bios

See event details here.

Monday July 6th: Dr.Tanya Gee, Dr.TCM is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Vancouver, BC.  She is the founder of the Bodhi Tree Healing Centre, a multi-disciplinary medical clinic devoted to serving all of humanity.  Best described as a  story teller, belly laugher, international educator and speaker as she inspires by example and encourages everyone to live simply and with consciousness. Dr.Gee has over 20 years of clinical experience in the field of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and esoteric studies of the Tao, Buddhism and more. What interests her the most is the unlimited power of love and the triumph of the human spirit.

Wednesday July 8th: Harmony Shire RMT is a fascial therapist focusing on the realignment of connective tissue. Practicing for eight years, she has found her passion in teaching the benefits and awareness of the fascial body and it's effect on daily living. An early advocate for fascial therapy, Harmony's knowledge of this understudied tissue is connecting and informing the yoga world, and shifting the way we view our practice. She has a full massage practice on Bowen Island and Vancouver, as well as co-teaching workshops.

Thursday July 9th: Muscles and Meridians Workshop by Obediya Jones-DarrellObediya is the head therapist of Superior Martial Arts.  He has had the opportunity to work with high level athletes such as Olympians, Yoga teachers and Professional Dancers to the general population who participate in the activities of daily living. Obediya helps these people do efficient stretching for injury prevention.  In this workshop, Obediya introduces specific stretching techniques and how to do some thai yoga based assists. Through a guided discussion he demonstrates how traditional concepts of yin and yang, the foundation of Acupuncture, and scientific principles from anatomy and physiology can work together to help you and your clients achieve balance during your practice.  

Friday July 10th: Dia Penning is yoga activist and Director of Curriculum and Training at World Trust Education Services in Oakland, CA. Through education rooted in love and justice, World Trust serves over 30,000 people each year. Using her 25 year foundation in the arts, social justice and yoga and challenging dominate paradigms through film, story and dialogue, Dia encourages deep reflection about how yogis approach service; within the yoga community AND out in the world. Please visit her website or Facebook for additional information.

Monday July 13th: Tanya Hollo is uniquely skilled in guiding people in the discovery of magic in everyday life. Weaving a strong scientific background with years of experience in various spiritual traditions and the healing arts, she loves empowering people to heal and transform themselves in a fun and accessible way. She believes that Yin yoga is a profound tool for self-discovery, and that through practice and integration, the skills learned in Yin can be used to transform the planet, one shape at a time. Tanya works as a naturopathic doctor in Gastown, Vancouver, where she is consistently humbled to witness patients on their healing paths.

Tuesday July 14th: Nicole Marcia has been a yoga teacher, therapist and trainer since 2004. In 2009, she was awarded a master’s degree with a specialization in yoga therapy from Lesley University in Boston, MA. Since then, she has been employed by Vancouver Coastal Health at their Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addictions, where she developed a comprehensive yoga therapy program for in-patient clients in various stages of recovery from mental health and addiction issues. She also serves as the director of training at Yoga Outreach, a not-for-profit organization providing volunteer yoga teachers to marginalized populations. In 2010, she completed the Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training at the Trauma Center in Boston, MA, and a course on the fundamentals of teaching yoga and meditation in military communities conducted by Warriors at Ease in Silver Spring, MD. She is a faculty member at Stenberg College, Ajna Yoga and Langara College Continuing Studies.

Thursday July 16th: Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy was introduced to yoga by her Grandfather when she was young. She officially started her yoga journey in 2002 with the practice of Ashtanga. Four years later Elisabeth travelled the ocean from Edinburgh to Vancouver where she nestled among the mountains and started to explore other yoga styles and philosophies. With inspiration from Anusara, Iyengar, and Yin-trained teachers, Rajanaka Tantra philosophy, and the human body, she settled into her own yoga rhythm. Elisabeth’s focus on wellness-based, ethically conscious living feeds her passion for yoga as a practice that goes beyond physical asana. In addition to teaching yoga, Elisabeth is a lecturer at the University of British Columbia where she teaches undergraduate classes in ethics, political theory, and animal welfare. She is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Animals in Science Policy Institute, a research consultant for the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), and a volunteer researcher for the David Suzuki Foundation. Elisabeth lives in Vancouver with her partner, Oliver, and together they are preparing to turn their tiny house dreams into a reality.

Join us for two weeks of Yin bliss! Tickets and info are here.

Announcing the Complete Schedule for the July '15 Teacher Training in Vancouver

Monday July 6, 2015
Danielle HoogenboomIntroductions, Intention Setting and Yin Overview
Dr. Tanya Gee: Yin, Yang and the Dao. Mysticism and Medicine

Tuesday July, 2015
Danielle HoogenboomPoses, Placement and Form
Danielle HoogenboomPose Variations and Props. Working with Diverse Populations

Wednesday July 8, 2015
Harmony Shire: Anatomy: Fascia and Function
Harmony Shire: Anatomy: Bones, Organs, Muscles

Thursday July 9, 2015
Obediya Jones Darrell: Meridians and Muscles from Eastern and Western Views
Obediya Jones Darrell: Assisted Yin, Partner Work and Thai Massage

Friday July 10, 2015
Dia Penning: The Business of Yoga & Navigating Politics
Dia Penning: Systems, Privilege and Karma Yoga: Yoga off the Mat

Saturday July 11, 2015
Danielle HoogenboomElements and Understanding: Learning to Un-Sequence
Danielle HoogenboomVariations and Long Holds: Dissecting an Inner Practice

Sunday July 12, 2015
Danielle HoogenboomGroup Teaching and Body Feedback: Learning together
Danielle HoogenboomEmotional Wellness and Class Themes

Monday July 13, 2015
Dr. Tanya Hollo: Organs and Emotions
Dr. Tanya Hollo: Natural Health and Nature's ConnectedCycles

Tuesday July 14, 2015
Nicole Marcia: Trauma Sensitive Yoga for Mind, Body, Spirit
Danielle HoogenboomWord, Sound, Power: Finding your Unique Voice

Wednesday July 15, 2015
Danielle HoogenboomAsana Lab and Practice Teaching
Danielle HoogenboomPresentations, Group Reasonings and Future Resources

Thursday July 16, 2015
Danielle HoogenboomSpiritually Speaking: Sacred Modern Living
Dr. Elizabeth Ormandy: Ethics in to the World. Living Yoga to Create Change

Assisting Seane Corn

It is truly an honour and a privilege to support, learn, grow and maintain a friendship with teacher, leader and community activist, Seane Corn. Her career spans decades –she has taught for nearly 25 years internationally doing teaching workshops, trainings, master classes and large scale yoga festivals.

Over the years, I have assisted her in Jamaica, California, Vancouver and Whistler. It is amazing to see a yoga class from the perspective of support. She moves and weaves through the room to support those who are struggling, offering suggestions for safety, ease and alignment. To witness the entirety of a room without being responsible for holding the full space is a deep honour, as is participating in asana classes for the more intellectual parts of my teaching and the energy of the room.

I find supporting a teacher and leader is an amazing opportunity to express my devotion to that person: making sure they have tea, taking them for good healthy food in quiet places between classes, working the space so they can leave in a timely way post-class, and offering a sounding board for the room. The experience is beneficial for me, both as a devoted teacher and student, and also as a one-woman show in my own right.   

I look up to Seane as a woman that has set an example of what it means to live your yoga off your mat. She is continuously committed to her path of yoga culture. People think that these ‘yoga-lebrities’ are not real people, who have often have two sides. The focus, effort and intention it takes to hold, guide and alchemize energy in these rooms all over the world is really a super-human power, in my eyes. I know personally from teaching groups that it is equal parts fuelling and exhausting. To see my mentor as a human-being, experiencing the same feelings as I have for business, intensity and burn-out is humanizing and inspiring.

I loved watching my teacher grow and shift in this industry of culture change.  It is refreshing and enlightening to talk about the shifts that we have both seen in our communities over the years. It is thought provoking and fire blazing, and takes me back to when I first met her about six years ago and recognized a kindred spirit on the mat. Her commitment to spirit is unwavering, and her edge is unmatched. I knew I had a teacher and friend for the long term in this powerful (yet petite) woman, who can pray publicly like no other I have ever met. She is a thoughtful friend with an amazing memory and the mouth of a fucking trucker.  That blend of sugar and spice, her call to action in the world, and her ability to make a whole room break down in sobs make her a woman who will continue to fuel and inspire me for the long haul.

In this crazy world of yoga, it is an honour to have Seane as a friend and mentor. Someone who can listen, mirror and reflect the struggles of balancing personal and private lives, of teaching and leadership. To have someone to riff off of the challenges of the culture at large and the ways we support and participate in it.

Assisting her during the last vinyasa teacher training in Vancouver was a great way for me to show love and devotion to my friend, my teacher, and my community. It was great to support the energy in the room while silently dancing across the mats to balance that energy. Learning to read Seane’s signs and signals has heightened my intuition of shared space in a teaching room. It is so humbling and inspiring to know that the same questions about space, the same frustrations and fatigues, and the same overwhelming joy of service runs through the veins of all teachers, both old and new. The challenges and celebrations we face daily are mirrored by our choice of teachers and communities.  Assisting one another on this path of this life is the key to sustainable and authentic offerings. It has been a deep honour to continue to learn and grow with my mentor and friend, Seane. Many bows!